I am in neither of those camps. I believe there are valid reasons for adoption. As a former child advocate in the court system, there is no doubt that some children will have no family to parent them. First and foremost, children need protection, stability and loving parents.
I am pro-child, not anti-adoption.
Most people do not realize that adoption has changed throughout history to mean different things. At one time, adopted kids were seen as "bad seeds" and my own grandmother was upset when I came into the family via adoption. During the Baby Scoop Era, the cultural view in the white community was that unmarried mothers were loose and incompetent parents. This cultural imperative prompted millions of women (my own mother included) to relinquish their children.
As a result, millions of babies were "scooped" and adopted to biological strangers "as if born to." Adoption files and original birth certificates eventually became sealed tight and when the adopted children grew up, we were (and many still are) forced to live in a limbo of sorts as to where we came from.
Today the focus is less on adopting kids from foster care who have needs for a loving family to a focus on "creating a family". Prospective adoptive parents pay large sums of money to adopt internationally when there are many children inside the U.S. who need homes. The idea within private adoption has flipped from helping children in need to helping yourself to children that belong to other families. The U.S. Christian community has created a "movement" of sorts to increase adoptions without fully understanding the ramifications of doing so. They see adoption as a Biblical mandate and many believe that God wanted children adopted, even though the children were born to different families.
I believe that all children have the right to be parented by their biological families. If that is not possible, then I believe children should then have the right to be parented by extended family or close friends they already know. If there is literally no one in the family to parent, adoption is a valid choice. Adoption is usually preferable over group homes, institutions or foster care (unless an older child prefers one of these arrangements).
I do not agree with changing children's names or sealing of adoption records or birth certificates; however, the law in the U.S. allows it at this time. I am vehemently opposed to the profit and greed and advertising for babies within private adoption. There is no reason in the world that a private domestic or international adoption should cost upward to $40,000.00. That is "legal" child trafficking any way you look at it.
So when you read what may appear to be anti-adoption sentiments on this blog, I am writing about the private adoption industry. I grew up within the institution of closed adoption. It has affected my life every day and I feel strongly that if anyone has a right to criticize the industry, it is me.
I am not criticizing public adoption agencies (i.e. Child Services) that place children with foster families or temporary custodians who will later adopt them for almost no cost (most public agencies have a public attorney and it does not cost much or anything at all for families to adopt from foster care). I fully and completely support foster-to-adopt for children who need homes and want to be adopted (older children should always have a choice).
When I criticize the private adoption industry, it is not an indictment on adoptive parents. I am an adoptive parent myself. I do not blog about my daughter's personal life except in the most general terms out of respect for her story being her own; however, I will say this. Our adoption of our daughter was a way to keep her safely within her own biological family.
Could my daughter or any other child have had a "good life" with non-relative adoptive parents? Sure she could have. However, keeping children with biological families needs to be a priority for children, when possible, especially when they are too young to have a voice.
If every private adoption agency in the U.S. shut down, I would be o.k. with that. The private adoption industry is out of hand and needs a complete overhaul. Women should never be allowed to sign away their children just hours or days after they give birth and agencies and attorneys should not be be profiting from it. Children should never have to sacrifice their original identities in order for a family to love and care for them.
Something needs to change.
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's Longing for itself
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies, but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you,
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday."
-- Kahlil Gibran